Give birth to hope® by donating your baby's umbilical cord blood. Nothing else that offers so much hope comes with so little effort.
A lifeline that leads to those in need
Before your baby is born, the umbilical cord is a lifeline. After your baby is born, that lifeline can give birth to hope for others.
How cord blood is used in transplants
Like bone marrow, cord blood is rich in the blood-forming cells that can be used in transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and many other life-threatening diseases. (These cells are not embryonic stem cells.) When a patient needs a transplant, his or her doctor will decide what the best source of blood-forming cells is.
Patient’s own cells (autologous): If the best choice is to use the patient’s own cells for transplant, the cells are usually collected from the patient’s bloodstream before the transplant.
Donated cells (allogeneic): If the best choice is to use donated cells for transplant, the doctor will look for a donor or a cord blood unit with a tissue type that matches the patient’s as closely as possible. A patient’s best chance of finding a match is with a brother or sister. If a brother or sister is a match, the cells for transplant can be collected from that sibling’s bone marrow or peripheral blood or cord blood unit.
But 7 out of 10 people will have to look outside their family because there is not a suitably matched person within their family. (For details on matching, see the patient information about finding a match.)
Those patients and their doctors depend on finding an unrelated bone marrow donor or umbilical cord blood unit on the Be The Match Registry® and other registries worldwide. Be The Match® is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program®, a nonprofit organization that matches patients with donors. In 2012, we facilitated more than 5,800 marrow and cord blood transplants for patients who did not have matching donors in the family. Today, 20% of transplant patients receive cord blood that was generously donated to a public cord blood bank.
To learn more about how transplants work, see patient information at Learning about Bone Marrow or Cord Blood Transplants.
Making cord blood transplants possible for more patients
With nearly 185,000 umbilical cord blood units on the Be The Match Registry and access to more than 590,000 total cord blood units through an international network of cord blood banks, many patients can find a suitable match. However, the search can be more challenging for patients from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Adding more cord blood units from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to the registry increases the likelihood that all patients will find a match. To learn more, see The Need for Donors.
We are dedicated to making transplant possible for patients from every racial and ethnic community. Since 2004, the number of cord blood transplants facilitated by us has increased each year. We expect this number to continue to grow, providing increased access to cord blood for any patient who needs a transplant.
To support these patients, we partner with a network of public cord blood banks that collects and stores cord blood units, especially from diverse racial and ethnic communities. We also serve as the nation’s Cord Blood Coordinating Center, which is part of the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program authorized by federal legislation to help patients receive marrow or cord blood transplants.
You can help
As you prepare for your child’s arrival, consider sharing a lifeline: donate umbilical cord blood.